Holes are the new notches – Huawei is considering cutting a slit for the earpiece as revealed by a design patent filed with the USPTO. This is interesting, because the expectation was that holes will be used for selfie cameras (like in Samsung’s Infinity-O design and teased with the Galaxy A8s).
In fact, the patent doesn’t mention the selfie camera at all. A Huawei design that leaked in July showed a camera in the hole and the earpiece on the bezel above it. That design also envisioned an in-display fingerprint reader while this patent seems to place it under the camera on the back. Huawei is clearly exploring various designs
A Huawei patent showing a hole cut out for the earpiece
Anyway, why so much effort for an earpiece? Some phones (like the original Mi Mix) tried to use a piezoelectric speaker to put the earpiece behind the screen. However, the sound quality proved to be pretty poor. A proper grille will offer superior audio.